"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction"-Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recipe Review: Coffee Flavored Beef Roast

A week or so ago, I made the coffee-flavored beef roast that I blogged about here. I served it with the potatoes, carrots and mushroom/onion mix that it was cooked with, creamed spinach and homemade biscuits

The only mistake I made was putting in too much water with the roast and vegetables to cook. I should have stuck with the directions. It watered down the seasonings, but otherwise this was an EXCELLENT recipe...my roast has never before turned out so perfect, so tender. I was amazed. I swear, it was like eating my Granny's Sunday roast--that perfect!

You HAVE to make this recipe...Reagan ate her entire helping of roast, two servings of creamed spinach (Kroger special!), her carrots, mushrooms and her biscuit. SHE NEVER EATS THAT MUCH! In fact, we have to bribe her to get her to eat more than a few bites..that's a testament to just how good this recipe was. And the biscuits? OH MY GOSH..PEREFECT...steamy and soft on the inside, crusty and hot on the outside. Trust me, go to this biscuit recipe and you will NEVER go back. And it's so easy there's no reason to buy frozen or canned ones at the store ever again.

Here's the recipe! I promise you'll love it!

Classic Biscuit~Country Living
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2.5 cups all purpose flour (sifted twice before measuring)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 tbsp cold buttermilk
1 tbsp melted butter

Heat oven to 475. Cut butter into small cubes and freeze for 15 minutes. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using either a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers til mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk using a fork just until the dough forms. Knead 3-4 turns on lightly floured surface and pat into a 7*10 rectangle. Cut out biscuits using a 3 inch cutter (gathering scraps until all the dough is used). Place 2 inches apart on a baking pan, brush the tops with melted butter. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 16-18 minutes. Serve warm with honey.

2 Buttermilk Tips!
If you don't have buttermilk, use soured milk instead. Make soured milk by combining 1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar with 1 cup plus 1 tbsp milk. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes til thickened. OR keep a container of SACO Cultured Buttermilk Blend in your cupboard (refrigerate after opening--oops forgot to do this!) to use on those occassions when you need buttermilk. This stuff is awesome! Of course the soured milk works too, but we southerners love our buttermilk and it adds that 'from scratch' taste to the biscuits!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reusable Babysitting Information Board

Ok, this is PURE GENIUS!!! If we ever actually have a need for a sitter (other than the occasional grandparent-date-night-sitting), then I'll definitely be using this!!!!

~Photo and Tutorial courtesy of Dollar Store Crafts...CLICK HERE!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My mom is doing somewhat better and has been released from the hospital. She's being sent home with pain medication and a physical therapist. My aunt and I continue to try to get her to move to Alabama where her family is close. Thanks to everyone for your prayers.

Finances and Walmart Update: I am averaging going to Walmart approximately once a month. I've really tried hard NOT to go at all per my agreement with myself, but with Target being 30 minutes away in good weather (we've had sooo little of that!) it's hard not to just stop by Walmart and grab what I need. Luckily I've kept my purchases to my list only. And we're saving a ton more money! I've also really slowed down on using coupons at Kroger and have been cooking more 'from sratch' foods and using more fruits and vegetables...very few coupons for those items. And get this, we're saving much more money than before. We made our "Dream Home" savings goal for January and as of February 26th, we'll have made our February goal. I'm so excited and I've already figured up the amount we need for March to stay on target.

Homeschooling is coming along slowly, but we're getting there. I've really neglected my homeschooling blog--I really wanted to have an outline for others that were confused by the whole startup process..but I think I have enough on my plate for now..I'll post there when I can.

I think that's it for us! Stay warm everyone!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook 2/23/10 Edition

I haven't participated in this in a while, but I love getting a chance to reflect on the recent past. If you're interested in joining, check out this link and join the Simple Woman's Daybook!

Outside my window....I thought it WASN'T snowing...but it is and I can just make out the flurries in the light of the corner lamp post. Earlier this week it smelled like spring...snow covered spring...but it's coming....
I am thinking about what we're going to do in school tomorrow and how I'm ever going to manage to get everything done that needs to get done.
I am thankful for my family, that I have a husband I can trust and count on and a daughter who still loves snuggling up to me no matter how many times I mess up as a mom!
From the learning rooms: I'm hoping to do a science project with Reagan tomorrow! (And here's to hoping it doesn't involve something growing in the fridge..I really need to clean it out!!)
From the kitchen--we had Chinese tonight so no cooking here, although I found an awesome recipe for pancakes yesterday (which is what Reagan requested for lunch)...they were so fluffy!
I am wearing jeans and an Auburn tee
I am creating a better system for all the supplies we've needed to start homeschooling
I am going to bed soon! SOO TIRED!
I am reading a cheesy historical romance, What Happens When A Woman Trusts God and waiting for the rest of my reading list to be fulfilled by some wondrous person on paperbackswap.com!
I am hoping that my mom gets better soon and realizes that she can have a great future without subjecting herself to an abusive relationship.
I am hearing Josh laughing in the next room, the distant sound of a few cars on the main roads and a train (the Midwest is still very much powered by trains)
Around the house I can't wait to start airing it out in the next three months and put up some spring decorations
One of my favorite things is planning surprises for Reagan on the holidays
A few plans for the rest of the week: school, grocery shopping, cleaning out the refrigerator..ugh!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing
Doesn't this just simply sing spring??

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I warned him I was going to post this....

So, my absolutely favorite body wash in.the.world. has been disappearing at an alarming rate. I know this because I have been using it VERY conservatively. As in....some days I open the container and sniff, then sigh, close it, and use my other body wash.

On Saturday Josh let me sleep late. It's kind of our thing. I sleep late on Saturday. He sleeps late on Sunday (we have a later Church service). I woke up...dragged myself to the bathroom and was staring at my bouffant hair, dark circles and droopy everything...when I smelled IT. YES. IT. MY LEMON SCENTED BODY WASH.

I whipped open the shower curtain...and there, THERE, is my husband....using NOT ONLY my lemon scented body wash people, BUT MY LOOFAH!!!!! And as it hits him, that I've just caught him using all my girly wonderful smelly-feel-good stuff, his mouth drops open and he tries to hide the loofah and all the lemon scented soap suds cascading off his naked body by whipping his knees up to his chest and holding the loofah as if it's his PRECIOUS that I'm going to attempt to rip out of his hands. I won't say the thought didn't occur to me. Because it did.

Today, I am proud to report, he not only bought his OWN body wash (and not a girly one either!) and his OWN loofah, but he also bought me some more lemony-smelling goodness.

I'm not sure if I still want to punch him or what :/ Hmm.....and UGH! MY LOOFAH! I swear that's like drinking milk after someone or using someone's toothbrush..ugh! ugh! UGH!!!!
This weekend has been a little hectic for our family so I never got around to making more of the homemade dishes I had planned. I'll try to do those sometime this week and post the recipes.

On other news, my mom was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She had left the hospital and was home for over a week...today she returned to the hospital after having several episodes of not breathing last night. When I last talked to her husband, she was not communicating much at all and was not in very good shape. Please keep her in your prayers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Persecuted for Christ

Company girls, if you're joining me today, the following post is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. I am not in any way authorized to speak or teach about the Bible or leading a Christian life. I'm just a Christian struggling along. Feel free to offer any insights you may have.

Recently I read a fiction novel about members of a Catholic church that were being terrorized by demons. I assure you, since that time, I have had lots of nightmares. Not a good book for a little light night time reading! If any of you have ever read Frank Peretti's novels, his books cover the same topic--demons terrorizing Christians....and hard-core, kick butt Angels that fight back!!

Reading these types of books has opened up an interesting dialogue in my heart about my relationship with Christ. One that holds special meaning in view of today's current events. Am I willing to be persecuted for Christ? Spiritually or Physically? AM I WILLING TO BE PERSECUTED FOR CHRIST?

Let's step back a minute:
I know that Christians are to be persecuted for Christ's sake. The Bible tells us this...repeatedly. Check out 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 or Philippians 1:27-30. History tells us this---just check out current events or your history books to see example after example of Christians being persecuted for their beliefs. And yes, most of those are graphic examples of Christians being persecuted PHYSICALLY for their beliefs. But Christians are also being persecuted mentally, emotionally and spiritually for their beliefs.

Let's examine that statement for a second:

Christians are being persecuted mentally, emotionally and spiritually for their beliefs. How? In most of Frank Peretti's books, you'll see him refer to demonic forces by names: despair, anger, jealousy, hatred. And I firmly believe that Satan uses these emotions to his full advantage and is unleashing spiritual warfare against Christians in order to win souls to Hell.

But Leah, are you telling us you really believe in demonic forces on earth? Here and now?

Yes. But I didn't always think that way. It's been a relatively recent development in my spiritual growth. And here's how it came to pass. I believe in God and Jesus. That much is a given for any Christian. And if I believe in Christ, then I have to believe in His Holy Spirit and his Angels. And that's a powerful thought...Angels here on earth to fight for righteousness and protect those that love the Lord. God even tells us that there are Angels among us...see Hebrews 13:2, Psalm 91:11, Psalm 34:7 and perhaps the one I find most full of joy and redemption, Hebrews 1:14.

So why is it so hard to believe then, there there are demons on earth terrorizing us and tearing away at our relationship with Christ? I had the opportunity to discuss this question with one of my fellow Christian friends. I think she thought I was a little crazy. And that's what most people would think if I said I believed in demons. But how, as Christians, can we believe in God, in Christ, in His Holy Spirit and in His Angels--and NOT believe in a Satan that has so much hatred for us that he is willing to release his minions on earth against us?

The Bible gives us example after example of demons persecuting men. I'm sure the first name that pops into any Christian's mind is Job. What about Mark 7, verses 25-30, the story about the little girl with the unclean spirit? What about Matthew 12, verses 43-45, warning us to put our house (our souls) in order so that unclean spirits do not return sevenfold? I firmly believe that not only do heavenly hosts surround us, but we are bombarded with hosts of a much more evil kind.

So while I do believe that demons can actually inflict physical terror as well, I believe that Satan is waging a much more effective war against Christians-spiritual, mental and emotional warfare. But get this...Christ has given us the eternal hope and assurance that we WILL win the battle. Check out this passage from Ephesians 6:10-20, which gives us not only that blessed assurance, but also the weapons with which to defeat Satan:

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 lPut on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the 2wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against mprincipalities, against powers, against nthe rulers of 3the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 oTherefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand pin the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, qhaving girded your waist with truth, rhaving put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 sand having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking tthe shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And utake the helmet of salvation, and vthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 wpraying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, xbeing watchful to this end with all perseverance and ysupplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, zthat I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which aI am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

And all this to bring me back to my original question: Am I willing to suffer persecution for Christ's sake? Sure, I might say I am, and even expect it. But am I TRULY willing to be persecuted for my Lord? Am I willing to face death, or even worse, the constant beating of my soul by hell's forces?

Sure this would be a nice, neat tidy package if I could just wrap it up and say YES! Of course I'm willing! But I'm a weak human and the answer is I'm just not sure. I love Christ, I want to spend eternity with Him. But am I willing to suffer to be with Him? This is a journey that is going to require so much more inside searching and outside reading and praying.

I know God will win the battle for us. I know the reward is greater than anything I can imagine. So why is it so hard to commit to a little suffering here and now?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ash Wednesday-A little late

Yesterday (or actually, today as I write this) was Ash Wednesday. I didn't realize it because my Church doesn't really celebrate Ash Wednesday or Lent. But I have a very good friend that's a Catholic and one of our other friends mentioned that she, Andrea, was going to Church to have ashes placed on her. I was absolutely not sure what that meant and so I went home and looked it up on trusty old Google.

Here's what I found:

In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers.

Not all Christian churches observe Ash Wednesday or Lent. They are mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday and Ash Wednesday is not observed.

The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.

~Courtesy of About.com

Of course the discussion of our Catholic friend's traditions led to another friend discussing what people at her Church were doing for Lent...one man was giving up coke-cola, but was also adding in three periods of prayer during the day to focus on his relationship with Christ.

My relationship with Christ is certainly not where it needs to be, but He has been leading me lately in our relationship and posing some very difficult questions in my heart. He has also been leading to homeschool Reagan, which is going to require His direction and His leadership, and much of my own following.

After much discussion and thought and a little bit of research, I finally decided I should probably focus on my own relationship with Christ during this season before Easter. I've attempted giving up something for Lent before..just because it seemed "the" thing to do and I can always work on moderation, but this time I really want to focus, not so much on what I'm giving up, but how giving up something can draw me closer to Christ.

And so, I've decided to give up two things I have little control over: Coffee creamer and sweets. And when I feel the need to eat sweets or use coffee creamer, I'm going to sit down and focus that energy and that craving and that need on talking with my Savior.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Notice my new button?

See it? Over there on the side? *I* MADE that button folks! With the help of some very talented bloggers out there who were generous enough to share their tutorials. I'm so proud!

Ok. Ahem.

Yesterday I had someone (by the very lovely name of Leah!) mention they'd love to make their own Cream of Chicken soup too...never fear! This weekend I'll post the recipe and hopefully some photos of my own attempts!

And yes, I am homeschooling now! What an adventure! It's a slow start, but most importantly, it's a start!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mass Cooking Day: The Recipes

I should have taken a picture of all of the food I made on Saturday, but I didn't...and I'm not going to at this moment either because my kitchen is still recovering..ugh!! All together, I made:

1 Mexican Chicken (the lower sodium/fat version worked great)
1 Chicken Pot Pie
Cooked chicken for chicken salad
Spaghetti Noodles for spaghetti dinner later this week
3 bags of Chicken Tetrazinni (each bag holds enough for dinner for three plus leftovers for lunch the next day)
5 containers of Broccoli-Cheese-Potato Soup
3 Meatloaves (which is the result of trying to make Grilled Hamburgers, more on that in a minute)

In the freezer we have everything left but the Mexican Chicken, the Chicken Pot Pie and the shredded chicken (although we still have some of each of those left..we're working on them for lunches and dinner from Saturday through last night!)

Here are the recipes and notes as needed!

Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Tetrazinni

Mexican Chicken
1 bag Doritos or low fat tortilla chips seasoned with sea salt
1 can each healthy request cream of chicken and cream of celery
1 large jar of thick picante sauce
boiled chicken (2 large skinless, boneless breasts)
Mexican shredded cheese, low fat

Layer bottom and sides of casserole dish with chips. Layer boiled shredded chicken over chips. Mix salsa and cream of soups together and pour over chicken.Sprinkle cheese on top and add more crushed chips. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.

Potato-Broccoli-Cheese Soup
2 cups chopped onion
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
2.5 lbs peeled and cubed potatoes
1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
5 cups boiling water + 4 cubes chicken bullion OR 5 cups chicken stock
3 cups fresh broccoli, cooked and drained
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a large stock pot saute onion in olive oil. Add potatoes, carrot and stock. Cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium, cook til potatoes and carrot are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove tough outer skin of broccoli stems and cook. Add to soup. In a blender, puree soup and return to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add cheese and heat through til melted. Good for freezing!

Grilled Hamburgers (which fell apart and became "Grilled Hamburger Meatloaf"!)
1 lb Angus ground beef
1 lb ground sausage
1.5 c mushrooms, finely chopped
.5 cup onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup ketchup/mustard mix
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well and form into patties. Grill (Or if that doesn't work, press into pans and make awesome tasting meatloaf!)

I still plan on making Homemade Cream of Chicken soup, tortillas and refried beans at some point this week-perhaps Saturday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Chicken Pot Pie & Salad
Cheesy Chili Soup and Biscuits
Homemade meatballs and spaghetti with vegetable
Chicken in gravy over rice with vegetable
Coffee-flavored beef roast with vegetable and biscuits
Leftovers x2

Hummus and vegetables
Fruit and chicken salad
Soup and sandwiches


Coffee-flavored beef roast:
6 medium potatoes cut into wedges
6 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch lengths
2 beef sirloin tip roasts (2-3 lbs each)
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
2 tsp canola oil
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 cups whole mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups brewed coffee
1 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Place potatoes and carrots in a 6 qt slow cooker. Sprinkle beef with half of the salt and pepper. Brown beef in oil on all sides in large skillet. Transfer to slow cooker. In same skillet, saute onion and the drippings for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook two minutes longer. Stir in coffee, chili powder and remaining salt and pepper. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices and transfer to a small pan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Serve with meat and vegetables.

~Courtesy Taste of Home

Chicken in Gravy with Rice
4 slices bacon, chopped
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb)
4 large carrots, 1 lb, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth, divided
2 oz cream cheese, cubed
3 cups hot cooked brown rice

Cook and stir bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove from skillet; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings. Add chicken to skillet and cook 5-6 minutes on each side til done; transfer to plate, cover to keep warm. Add vegetables and half a cup of broth to skillet; cover and simmer ten minutes or until tender. Stir in remaining broth and cream cheese; cook, uncovered, two minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is thick. Return chicken to skillet and cook two minutes until heated through. Spoon rice onto serving plate and top with chicken, sauce and bacon.

~Courtesy of kraftfoods.com

The "Best" Meatballs

2 lbs ground beef
1 6 oz package of stuffing mix
1 1/4 cups water
2 eggs

Heat oven to 400. Line 2 pans with foil; spray with cooking spray. Mix ingredients until well blended; shape into 32 balls. Place 16 meatballs on each sheet. Bake 16-18 minutes til done.

~Courtesy kraftfoods.com

Cheese Chili Soup
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can chicken broth
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese

Bring all ingredients except cheese to a boil. Simmer on low for 25 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup cheese. Ladle into bowls and top with remaining cheese.

~Courtesy kraftfoods.com

**More recipes from the Mass Cooking Day coming tomorrow!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

(And hugs and kisses to my own sweetie and our little one!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mass Cooking Day

For some reason, I woke up in a cooking mood (and sometimes I wonder how my husband feels about those..he loves the food, hates the mess I leave in my wake!) And so, here it is going on mid-afternoon and I'm surrounded by platters of cut vegetables and vats of steaming homemade chicken broth. What's on the menu? I'm glad you asked!

First up are two of my Granny's best recipes ever!
Chicken Pot Pie and Mexican Chicken--today I'll be doing some tweaking to the Mexican Chicken to make it a bit healthier..not sure how that's going to turn out, but it's worth a try!

Then we have Chicken Tetrazinni, Grilled Hamburgers, and Potato and Broccoli-Cheese Soup! YUM!

I've also chopped 9 pounds of onion for the freezer and a nice batch of broth for all the recipes. I *HOPE* to make some homemade Cream of Chicken Soup, Refried Beans and Tortillas either today or possibly tomorrow! Recipes and photos coming up, so stay tuned!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Zinger!! Reagan style...

Last night I was watching Golden Girls and started laughing hysterically at something Blanche said. Reagan said "Mommy, why are you laughing?" And I responded with "Oh, I'm just laughing because she's a funny lady and Mommy wants to be her when I get older!" Deadpan: "You already are older!!!"


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Review: This Is Your Brain In Love-Dr. Earl Henslin

A few months ago I ran across a blog while searching for a book. The woman that wrote this blog had stumbled upon a way to get FREE books! WOOHOO! I thought, sign me up!

Sign up I did and Thomas Nelson publishers quickly approved my request and sent me a link to check out several books they had up for grabs. To be honest, NONE of them looked appealing. The book about American history...drat! Too late to get that one. So I finally settled for This Is Your Brain In Love by Dr. Earl Henslin. My thoughts at the beginning? Ugh, maybe I can slug through this one and get a book I really want.

Immediately after receiving the book in the mail I did a quick glance over and realized this book might actually be something I was INTERESTED in. And it was.

I love this book. My copy (after only a month mind you) is completely dog-eared and covered in pink highlighter. Several passages not only have pink highlighter AND a dog-ear, but they also contain exclamation points. That's how much I enjoyed this book.

Let me start at the beginning. This Is Your Brain In Love is a book all about how brain disorders (no, stay with me here) affect our ability to have a full, loving, lasting and healthy marriage. By brain disorder I don't mean you were in a car accident and suddenly turn into ultra-aggressive spouse who wants to bludgeon evrything (although that actually is covered too). But by brain disorder I mean, your hormones have gone out of wack thanks to crazy periods, pregnancies or menopause or maybe you've dealt with so much stress in your life thanks to abuse or dealing with violence (think police or military) that your brain begins to function differently.

This struck head on (yes, pun intended) for me. After dealing with a traumatic pregnancy and subsequent delivery of our child I suffered from PPD, PTSD which eventually turned into OCD, brought in in part by being severely abused in childhood. My brain had dealt with so much stress that it wasn't functioning at it's optimum. And it was affecting my marriage. Prozac helped. But Dr. Henslin gave other ideas for people struggling with similiar situations.

There are suggestions for anxious lovers, agressive lovers, lovers who suffer from ADD, ADHD and severe depression (these are just a few). Suggestions for supplements, medications or simple life changes. AND suggestions for the spouse dealing with someone going through the aforementioned problems.

And even if you don't think you suffer from a brain 'malfunction'....reading the book might just surprise you. Most members of our society (a huge portion in fact) suffer from SOME SORT of brain imbalance--in fact even so called "healthy" individuals who didn't think they had any problems whatsoever, and submitted to brain scans in preparation for this book, were discovered to have some portion of their brain that was not functioning as properly as it should. Dr. Henslin's strategies can help even those who think they don't need it.

He uses years of therapy in his Christian practice, his own struggle with ADD and his time spent working with Dr. Amen of the Amen Clinic to lend credence to his words. But don't think this book is going to be full of clinical mumbo-jumbo that you'll have difficulty wading through trying to figure out exactly WHAT Dr. Henslin might be talking about. Luckily for us, Dr. Henslin has spilled everything out for us in laymans terms with tons of examples and stories to illustrate and hit home his suggestions. There are even quizzes, based on brain scans, to help pinpoint which suggestions would best help you in your relationship.

I can't tell you how exciting it was to read a book that gave you scientific explanations and suggestions in laymans terms and that dealt with a problem that hits close to home. I give this book two thumbs up...check it out at your local library first, but I promise you, you'll probably want your own copy to dog-ear!

Things that would make my life easier....

In other words, things I am SO getting in our dream house.

1. No more towel bars...only hooks. Since I really am OCD I am forever straightening the towels in my house..I can't stand crinkly towels. Hooks..no problem!

2. No more carpet. I can't WAIT to have a house with no carpet. I can't STAND carpet! No more carpet also means I won't single handly be keeping Arm and Hammer in the black.0

3. A mudroom. OH WHAT I WOULD GIVE FOR A MUDROOM! Some place to kick off snow boots without having snow all over the house. Someplace to hang all the hats, gloves, snowsuits and jackets that are soaking wet!

4. Duvet covers. You know, spend one minute in the morning making the bed instead of wrestling with the 8 zillion blankets we currently have on it?

5. Body pillows...to prop up decorative pillows --instead of fluffing the zillions of pillows we currently use...OR eropean pillow cases only...whichever is less work for me.


7. A toyroom with a door...so I don't have to look at it.

8. WHITE SLIPCOVERED furniture..yes. White. With children. Wait, lest you think I've completely lost it. BLEACH people. BLEACH.

9. A warming tray. I can cook dinner and nothing gets cold. Happy Day! Happy Day!

10. A preschooler that listens...oh wait, that'll never happen!

What would you have (or do have) in your dream home that absolutely makes your life 110% better??

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


...Reagan is running around the house with me screaming 80s songs at the top of her lungs, I'm wearing grunge clothes and we're making homemade salt-dough Valentine's crafts (more to come on that later). I have never felt more like a renaissance woman. LOL!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Great Book Challenge of 2010

I adore reading and I tend to go a little overboard when I do read...I get sucked into a book and CANNOT put it down. I don't just read, I devour them...and leave neglected children, husbands, cats and a house in my wake.

This year I'm challenging myself to set in stone the books I want to read, post them here and post reviews! I'm psyched. So many times I find a great book and want to tell everyone about it, then life gets in the way and I forget or just never get around to it. I also will be posting great children's books over on my new homeschooling blog. (SO EXCITED!~We start our "homeschooling" next week--it was going to be this week but I didn't anticipate all the exhaustion and caught up stuff we'd need to do after being gone on a week long vacation!)

At any rate, here is my book list for the year...and I'll be adding plenty to it as life goes along!

Reviews on books I've already read this year:
This Is Your Brain In Love-Dr. Earl Henslin
Everything's Coming Up Josey & Chill Out, Josey-Susan May Warren
Hearts at Home-Jill Savage

Books to Read:
In Defense of Food-Michael Pollan
Living Simply: Choosing Less in a World of More-Joanne Heim
Breaking the Jewish Code-Perry Stone
Daddy, I'd Like You to Meet My Children-Robbie Castleman
Going Rogue-Sarah Palin
Get Cozy, Josey-Susan May Warren
Tea With Hezbollah-Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis
The Mom I Want To Be-T. Suzanne Eller
Living With Less So Your Family Has More-Mark and Jill Savage (due for release 3/2010)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society-Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Love & Respect-Dr. Emerson Eggrichs
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day-Hertzberg and Francois
America-The Last, Best Hope Volumes I&II-William J. Bennett
The Well Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling-Rachel Gathercole
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas-Linda Dobson
The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child-Linda Dobson
Mom Management: Managing Mom Before Everybody Else-Tracy Lyn Moland
Liberty & Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto-Mark Levin
Common Sense-Glenn Beck
The Survivor’s Club-Ben Sherwood
The Forgotten Man: A History of the Great Depression-Amity Shlaes
Simplicity Parenting-Kim John Payne, Lisa M. Ross

I also plan to read through my Bible this year. I need to work on being a happier person..I think it starts there. So far, I'm feeling really drawn to Proverbs and I've also been discovery Song of Solomon.

Please feel free to post any books that you would recommend!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Planning---A New Way!

I'm always looking for a way to simplify my life and organize my recipes. When I read today's post over at Home Sanctuary, I knew it was the answer to my cooking organization problems. So, not only did I organize some of our usual meals for dinner, but I put some of my ideas for lunch, breakfast and snacks on a printout as well.

By using the method that Rachel Anne suggests, I'll be able to effectively plan our menu quickly and make use of what's on sale and what I have in my pantry! Here are my categories and meal list, hope it helps someone else!

(And here's a link to a blank calendar courtesy of the comments on Home Sanctuary!)

Long Prep Meals
Chicken Teriyaki and Egg Drop Soup
Homemade pizza or Calzone with a salad
Salmon Patties with tartar sauce and coleslaw and fruit salad
Meatloaf and Creamed Potatoes and Vegetable
Chicken Parm with Spaghetti and vegetable/salad
Eggplant Parm with Spaghetti and vegetable/salad
Baked chicken with bread and vegetables
Baked fish and homemade tartar sauce, potato salad and vegetable
Hashbrown casserole with a baked meat, vegetable
Sweet Potato casserole with a baked meat, crowder peas and vegetable
Pork Chop and Brown Rice Bake and vegetable
Onion Chopped Steak with Easy Gravy, rice/potatoes and a green vegetable

Crock pot meals
Roast with potatoes, carrots and onions, rolls and vegetable/salad
Shredded bbq pork

Pie/Casserole Meals
Chicken pot pie with vegetable
Chicken Tetrazzini with vegetable
Mexican Chicken with salad, corn/corn relish
Beef, Onion and Potato Casserole with vegetable
Beef and Noodle Casserole with vegetable
Granny’s “Graham” Chicken with vegetable and bread
Mac and Beef Casserole with vegetable
Mac and Tuna Casserole with vegetable

Soup & Sandwich/Salad
Tortilla soup with corn chips and ham/turkey sandwich
Rocket soup with corn muffins
Tomato soup and grilled cheese
Bean Soup and Focaccia Bread
Potato Broccoli Soup with Cornbread
Zuppa Tuscana with bread sticks and salad
Beef and Vegetable Soup with BLTs
Super Save Tortilla Soup and quesadillas

Fend For Yourself Night (Items to have on hand)
Bagged salad
Lunch Meat
Chicken nuggets
Steam single serve vegetables

Take Out/Order In Meals
Cracker Barrel

Leftover Night
Leftover Buffet of Meals

Super Easy Meals
Spaghetti with vegetable
Tacos-as tacos or taco salad
Southwest Rollup Burritos

Josh Cooks Night
Burgers with Coleslaw (traditional or Texas Two-Step)
Steaks with baked potatoes and salad

Try Something New Night
Various Recipes in basket, cookbooks

Soup and sandwich

Potato Bake
Pancakes (chocolate chip banana peanut butter)
Eggs and Bacon/Sausage
Fruity Oatmeal
Cream of Wheat
Quick Bread

Quick breads--Banana, zucchini, etc.
Muffins-blueberry, banana, chocolate chip

Pears with mayo/cheese
ALL vegetables
Broccoli casserole
Fruit salad
Orange fluff
Green bean casserole
Strawberry Pretzel Squares

Lemon Pie
Granny’s fruit cake
Banana pudding

Our menu for the week is as follows:

Breakfasts: cereal, fruit, pancakes and eggs (repeat as needed)
Lunches: Sandwiches, soup, fruit, leftovers (repeat as needed)
Onion Chopped Steak with Easy Gravy, rice and a vegetable
Chicken Pot Pie with vegetable
Spaghetti with vegetable
Baked fish with homemade tartar sauce, vegetable and a potato dish
Tortilla soup with sandwich
Roast with carrots, onions, creamed potatoes and broccoli
Leftover Buffet

Home Sweet Home

I love visiting my family, but it's also good to be back home. We had a fairly unexciting drive down--we split the trip into two days--and it only took a total of 12 hours of drive time. No real weather problems until just below Nashville where the roads were coated with ice. The trip back was fine until just north of Indy where we ran into lots of ice on the interstate...and unfortunately it was nighttime--NOT GOOD for driving! The trip home took 14 hours, probably because we needed more stops to make it all the way through in one big trip.

Visiting with my family was great. I didn't tell any of my friends that I was coming down this time, I felt it needed to be more of a family trip. We were able to go to a fun science museum, which Reagan is STILL talking about! We drove down to Fort Rucker to see my cousin and his family (they were just stationed there about three weeks ago) and we did a lot of shopping and watching Reagan play. I was also able to see my great grandma. She's 96 and much of the time she can't communicate or either she's living in the past. This time however she was able to speak with me and I was able to help feed her. She really knew it was me and I'm glad I had that time with her. The only sad part of our visit was when she asked where the baby was (meaning Reagan) and I told her I couldn't bring Reagan in. She said "I don't think I'll ever get to see that baby again." She nearly broke my heart.

Reagan is still having trouble adjusting to PawPaw--my dad. He's very quiet and painfully shy and just won't engage her and so she doesn't want to be near him...it doesn't help that she's only seen him a handful of times in her life.

My family still asks when we're going to move closer and I know that Josh would love to move to the south, but I have my doubts. I loved growing up in Alabama, really I did. But now that I'm older I can see it without the rose colored glasses of youth. I see the depressed economic system, the falling apart homes and businesses, the projects, the low standard of education. And sure there are the bright spots within the state, but for much of the state it's like stepping back to the 1930s--Alabama is truly suffering through a depression much like they did in that era. And as for the state motto--"Alabama the Beautiful", I just laugh--there really isn't that much that's beautiful about Alabama anymore.

I want my children to have the southern heritage, I'm just not sure I want them to be raised in such a depressed climate of life. If we ever do move south, it will be no further than Tennessee or Georgia. But as for now, I'm truly enjoying the life we have here in Indiana. We have a small town where most people know each other, there are plentiful jobs, and lots of community involvement. We have friends, we have at least one set of Reagan's grandparents, and we love the atmosphere we're raising our child in.

I wish I could weave the threads of my childhood with those that Reagan will have here. But I'm not so sure that's possible anymore. So much has changed in the world. I want her to experience running around all day around town without having to check in...but I know I'll never allow that to happen, there are too many child predators. I want her to experience the lazy summer days of youth and the smell of azaleas and feel the sweat of hardwork that comes from hoeing cotton or picking scratchy okra. I want her to feel the red clay oozing between her toes. But there is no red clay in Indiana and no cotton either.

So we'll have to do the best we can. And hope that she looks back on her youth with as much fondness as I do mine. I just hope that when she looks back on her youth, she can also turn around and look at the present and see that where she grew up is still a wonderful place to live and raise a family, because I miss being able to do that with the town of my youth.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


OH MY GOODNESS...we are back after some grueling traveling. EXHAUSTED! Putting Reagan to bed now and Josh and I are going to collapse! I'll catch up on Monday!
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